Minister David Van Rooyen: Another liability in public office?

2015-12-10 17:02

Minister Pravin Gordhan was moved from the Finance Ministry after serving one term. President Zuma said his leadership was needed at Local Government. So he would be appointed to the position of Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

A question to ask after the removal of Minister Nene is whether or not our country needs the leadership of his replacement Minister David Van Rooyen. What is known about our new Minister of Finance's leadership? His credentials include being an MK operative  (ask Thandi Modise about MK men fighting over new women volunteers in the training camps: use them as sex slaves or not).

As the media has pointed out that little is known about the new head of Treasury. But one thing we know about his leadership in public office is that he was the Merafong Mayor where residents burnt his house and chased him out. In his time as mayor, the Auditor General, amongst other things noted the failure of leadership to ensure that the municipality had sound internal control systems, a prerequisite for public finance management.

The Merafong Municipality had qualified audit opinions for 2 of his last years as Mayor in the municipality and worse than qualified before that. In fact, financial management improved as soon as he was chased out of the municipality by residents. The municipality achieved its first unqualified audit opinions for 3 consecutive years after his departure.

The failure to have sound internal control systems in municipalities led to a disaster. He presided over an administration where conditions of looting public coffers were created. Residents then bear the brunt of such failures as it is likely to mean that services will not be delivered as expected, increasing the likelihood of service delivery protests.

So we know that the new head of Treasury failed to provide leadership and improve public finance management in a small municipality. How then can he be trusted to oversee the national treasury? What does President Zuma know about him that the public does not know? If misadministration happened on his watch in Merafong, will the same not happen in the national Treasury?

Some people might say this then makes him the "perfect" minister in Zuma's cabinet. See the Nkandla Project is not complete and there were reports of damaged fencing that already cost the tax payer a lot of money.

So we need someone in charge of the public purse who will ensure that the Nkandla Project is completed and importantly, that any other opportunity to loot is made available and exploited. So many theories out there, ailing economy, and our President pretends all is well because he is, in Madonsela's words, secure in comfort.

How did we go from Trevor Manuel, Pravin Gordhan, Nhlanhla Nene to Minister Van Rooyen?

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